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2012 NBA power rankings: Celtics a consensus top 5 team

The Boston Celtics will be one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference according to most preseason NBA power rankings.

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

The Boston Celtics are expected to be one of the NBA's premier teams again in 2012-2013, as preseason power rankings have them among the top five squads in the league.

The Celtics were only the fourth-best team in the Eastern Conference last year according to the standings, but it wasn't surprising when the veteran squad pulled through in the postseason to come within a game of the NBA Finals. They lose Ray Allen to the Miami Heat from a team that pushed those same Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, but Jeff Green and proven postseason player Jason Terry come to replace his scoring punch.

Seth Rosenthal's SB Nation NBA Power Rankings and Marc Stein's at ESPN both put the Celtics at No. 4 in the league. Stein wrote that of all the teams in the Eastern Conference, Boston might be the only one with a chance of seriously contending for a title -- besides the Heat of course.

Open to suggestions on who else you think we should tack onto the short list of teams capable of actually beating the Heat and winning the East. For the Celts to even be on that list -- though they got undeniably deeper over the summer -- everything has to go right.

The Heat and Celtics will square off in a nationally-televised season opener Tuesday night.

Kurt Helin at Pro Basketball Talk put the Celtics at No. 5, citing the new additions as reason for optimism.